The Sweet Service Award goes to Discovery Vitality, for keeping its promises on offering its physically active members cash back on their purchases of healthy foods at Woolworths and Pick ‘n Pay, on their shopping at Clicks, and at Sportman’s Warehouse. In addition, they have weekly rewards for fitness achievements, none of which I had used until I visited The Point Mall branch earlier this week, when I received a surprise reward of a car wash at Body Wash discounted to R15 instead of the cost of R80.  (more…)

Chef Reuben Riffel is expanding his restaurant portfolio to five, with a fourth Reuben’s opening in Johannesburg at The Capital Moloko boutique hotel.  It is due to open on 1 August.

 

 

 

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On Monday Maison J Café et Croissant was launched, in a joint venture with five co-owners and retailer Pick ‘n Pay. Lucky for me the coffee and croissant sit-down and take-away outlet is being test-run in Camps Bay, the suburb to which I have very recently returned as a resident. (more…)

The Sweet Service Award goes to Emirates, for its flight from London to Dubai, on Sunday 1 July. At the check-in I was told to reduce 5 kg of weight of my suitcase, luckily having bought a hand-luggage suitcase into which I could transfer items of that weight, and having to check it in too, to avoid paying extra. My son had left my check-in too late, so I was allocated a poor seat. I asked the check-in lady if she could find me a window seat, but she told me that the fight was full, and that all such seats were taken already. She said that she would continue to try to find me a window sat, and that I should ask again at the boarding gate desk. Lo and behold, there it was, in the second row from the front, in the company of a (more…)

 I am about to leave my second home, Apricus Locanda in the village of Apricale in Italy, close to the French border. I have spent the last thirteen days here, writing SwitchBitch Book 2 here, and recovering from walking the Camino in Northern Spain for three weeks. 

Despite having had the most unbelievable obstacles put in my way by airlines Emirates and Iberia to finally get to Apricale, via train to Ventimiglia, last year and this year, respectively, there is no friendlier and more perfect location for me to have written my first two SwitchBitch books.  (more…)

The Sweet Service Award goes to RyanAir, for its exceptional service (unexpected after a previous flight with this airline years ago), for the flight from Santiago de Compostela to Madrid, from the check-in, where the staff member spoke to me in German, allowed me to have my walking sticks in the hold without extra charge, turned a blind eye to my overweight suitcase, and the same staff member spoke to me in German again when she checked my boarding pass. The seating in the plane had ample leg room, and the service was impeccable. 

The Sour Service Award goes to Iberia, for cancelling the flight from Madrid to Nice, while we were sitting in the plane already, after we were told that the flight would be delayed for 90 minutes, and then that we would depart in 15 minutes. Only two Iberia staff handled the plane-load of passengers, and their reissuing of new tickets to new destinations, Iberia refusing to book any destinations in France. We were given a hotel voucher for NH Hotels too, with a dinner and a breakfast buffet and two beverages too. I had to be routed to Turin the following day, with a 90 minute departure delay due to striking air traffic controllers in Marseilles, and take a four and a half hour train ride to Ventimiglia, to get to my end destination of Apricale, a full day journey.  I was not compensated for the train trip cost! 

The WhaleTales Sweet & Sour Service Awards are presented every Friday on the WhaleTales blog. Nominations for the Sweet and Sour Service Awards can be sent to Chris von Ulmenstein at chrisvonulmenstein [at] gmail.com. Past winners of the Sweet and Sour Service Awards can be read on the Friday posts of this blog.

Chris von Ulmenstein, WhaleTales Blog: www.chrisvonulmenstein.com/blog Tel +27 082 55 11 323 Twitter:@Ulmenstein Facebook: Chris von Ulmenstein Instagram: @Chris_Ulmenstein

It has been announced that the new chef heading up the new Le Petit Manoir restaurant on the main road in Franschhoek is Chef Kevin Grobler, previously the Head Chef of one Michelin star JAN restaurant in Nice. He has been joined in the kitchen by his former JAN colleague Chef Scott Armstrong.  (more…)

After a year of not having an African restaurant on the World’s 50 Best Restaurant list, The Test Kitchen In Cape Town has done our continent proud in scraping in at number 50 at the gala awards ceremony held in Bilboa in Spain this evening. The restaurant was praised for its emphasis on waterless cooking, giving the water scarcity in Cape Town. Last year the restaurant fell to 63rd position, when its arrogance in charging astronomically for lunch service, and for the presence of Chef Luke Dale-Roberts, led to its downfall. 

La Colombe made it onto the 51 -100 List, at number 73 last year, but has fallen right off the list this year, a karmic reaction to its involvement in restaurant politics, which was already evident in its slide at the Eat Out Awards in November last year.  (more…)

The Sweet Service Award goes to The Real Cheese in Observatory, its owner Annemarie opening up her shop especially for me on Monday 30 April, when it was officially closed over the long weekend, which coincided with the Cheese Festival. As she was organising deliveries, she allowed me to fetch a Dalewood Fromage Superlatif for a party I held that evening. 

 

 

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The Sweet Service Award goes to Cape Town City Ballet, for its magnificent and moving performance of ‘Mozart & Salieri’ at the Artscape Opera House. The costume and set design were superb, and the music of mostly Mozart moved me to tears. It was in very sharp contrast to the disappointing performance of ‘The Cotton Club’ by the same dance company. 

 

 

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